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This January 2012 photo provided by Feld Entertainment, producers of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, shows big cat trainer Alexander Lacey presenting tigers during Ringling Bros. "Dragons" show launched in Tampa, Fla. The circus' big cats "have an opportunity to eat, sleep and reproduce in an environment that is stimulating for them," said Lacey, one of a number of Ringling performers who come from multi-generational circus backgrounds. The key, he said, is to make sure that the lions and tigers' days are interesting for the time they are awake; they typically sleep 18 to 20 hours a day.

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Circus evolves amid market, regulatory challenges

Nicole and Alana Feld come from a long line of circus folk, so they are well aware of the challenge of bringing a century-and-a-half old attraction to families with many entertainment choices.

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